The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) is pursuing "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements hiding in Kirkuk city as part of a new plan to tighten security, Kirkuk province media office director Marwan al-Ani told Diyaruna Friday (December 14th).
"Forces from the CTS's 2nd Special Operations units have been carrying out large-scale tracking operations of terrorist remnants since November 26th," he said.
The operations have covered various neighbourhoods of Kirkuk city, he said, adding that they have led to the arrest of 12 ISIS elements "who had infiltrated the city to carry out attacks against its residents and the security forces".
These arrests signal a major development, al-Ani said, as Kirkuk "has not experienced for a long time such effective security measures to pursue and arrest terrorists with great precision".
Such proactive measures are based on new plans to tighten security in the city in co-ordination between the CTS and the rest of the security forces, including Federal Police forces and joint operations commands in neighbouring provinces.
Security is not only consolidated by military force, but also thanks to the contribution of the local population, al-Ani said, "as a closer, more dynamic relationship between security forces and citizens will improve security and allow for easier detection of terrorists".
The security situation inside the city is improving, he said, despite some sporadic attacks that have been occurring in the west and south of Kirkuk province, in the al-Hawijah district areas of al-Rashad, al-Abbasi, al-Zab and al-Multaqa.
"A few ISIS pockets are active in those areas, especially in Wadi al-Shay and the Zughaitun river," he said, but continuous monitoring and pursuit campaigns prevent the extremists from moving freely.
Meanwhile, the Kirkuk police's explosives team has removed dozens of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance from different areas of Kirkuk, the police said Friday.
"The explosives team removed 85 IEDs and 50 bombs set for detonation in western Daquq," it said in a statement.
All the explosives were removed to a remote area for detonation, the statement said.